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Hello <<First Name>>, 

I want to start by offering my condolences to the victims and survivors of the horrific violence in Nova Scotia over the weekend. This crisis will keep loved ones from joining together in grief, which exacerbates the harm inflicted on these families. It's a terrible tragedy, and I hope you'll join me in keeping the victims in our prayers.

There is more promising news coming in as a result of the province's modelling, released today. Thanks to stay-at-home, and physical distancing measures, Ontario health experts are indicating that we may have hit the peak of cases earlier than expected. It now appears we are trending towards and improvement on earlier "best-case scenario" estimates. This is great news, but we are not at the end of this pandemic yet. Anyone experiencing the concerns in our long-term care facilities knows that there is still much work to be done to combat this virus. Our leader issued a statement today on this very topic, which you can read below.

For the rest of us itching to get back to normalcy, we also know that the slow of community spread, although positive, does NOT mean the virus is gone. If we stop now, cases will spike again. It's with this vigilance in mind that I am urging everyone to stay the course and continue the work necessary to ensure we get through this together. I know this is tough, but we need to look after ourselves and each other as we move past the worst of this pandemic.

I'd like to remind everyone of some of the mental health resources available to you and your family to deal with these trying times. CAMH has a host of resources available HERE, including methods to cope with the stress and anxiety of social isolation. BounceBack is a free skill-building program designed to help manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety. It is managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and is delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos. And of course, Kids Help Phone is a valuable resource for youth who need someone to turn to. They offer professional counselling, information and referrals by phone, text, mobile app or through their website.

I will continue to remain vigilant on the issues that matter to you. Of increasing concern are the calls to my office from seniors paying triple the amount they usually would in co-payments. While I support efforts to protect drug supply, we shouldn't be asking our seniors to choose between the medicine they need and their daily essentials. That's why we are urging the government to cancel prescription co-payments for seniors during the pandemic.

Please continue to let me know how my office and I can support you through this time.

As always, my office is here to help. Please call at 416-243-7984, or email us at fhassan-co@ndp.on.ca.

Take care, stay home, and wash your hands.

Best Regards,



Faisal Hassan
Member of Provincial Parliament
York South — Weston
 
News Release 
 

Least protected, most affected: Horwath calls on Ford to heed data, take overdue action in Long-term Care Homes

 

QUEEN’S PARK — New data revealed Monday points to long-term care, retirement homes and other congregate settings as bearing the brunt of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition NDP, says homes were left vulnerable in the first place — and the government needs to listen to the data and act today to do more to protect people.

“It’s a relief that we may now be at the peak of the COVID-19 infections in Ontario, thanks to the hard work and exceptional precautions being taken by Ontarians,” said Horwath. “But it’s clear now that the peak for everyday Ontarians may not be the peak for seniors and vulnerable people in care.

“The government ought to have known long-term care and group home settings were a disaster waiting to happen because of years of underfunding, neglect, a lack of regulation and inspection, and horrible understaffing. They should have been better prepared and stepped in much earlier to remedy these wrongs which made people in care incredibly vulnerable. There’s no excuse for the delays, but today — right now — the government can still take action to protect people and stop tragedy from striking more lives, and more families.”

Horwath said, despite being tragically late, the government should:

  • Step in to take over direct management of long-term care facilities where residents aren’t protected enough
  • Immediately restrict all workers in congregate care settings to one facility only, including temp agency workers
  • Regularly and systematically test all residents and staff in congregate care facilities, in addition to testing people who are showing symptoms or have had contact with an infected person
  • Provide and mandate full personal protective equipment (PPE), using the precautionary principle, for all workers in congregate care settings — not just those with outbreaks already discovered
  • Raise wages for long-term care, home care and assisted living or group home facility staff to at least $22 an hour, and launch and aggressive recruitment and retention strategy
  • Provide hotel or other single accommodations for workers who live with vulnerable people or other essential workers so they can isolate in between shifts

According to the data released Monday, at least 367 of 591 deaths have been in long-term care – 62 per cent. That number doesn’t include group homes, like Participation House in Markham, retirement homes or other types of assisted and congregate living.

Community News: 

Looking for one of the City of Toronto "We are staying home" signs? The city is no longer delivering lawn signs, but you can get a printable version HERE, or a blank one for the little ones to colour in HERE.

The Unison Mental Health and Social Work Team team is currently providing services over the phone to keep community members safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Services are free and are open to all community members ages 16 and over (including refugees and persons without status) regardless of where they live. Interpretation services are also available. For income support, call 416-787-1661 ext. 3240, and for all other services, call 416-645-7575 ext 2050.


Supercoffee in Mount Dennis is open once again for business! After closing briefly around the end of March, the team is back and ready to serve by takeout, or delivery for beans and sweets. They have been missed! Follow Supercoffee on Twitter and Instagram at @supercoffeemd. They are a leader in the community (as you'll see from this story) and their coffee tastes great too!
As part of their 2020 Digital Convening Series, The Broadbent Institiute is hosting and expert panel examining the role provinces can play to meet the needs of people and communities during the pandemic. The panel will be running from 1:00pm-2:00pm EST on Wednesday, April 22. Learn more about the panelists or RSVP for the event HERE.
As we've mentioned previously, UrbanArts has announced #UAFROMHOME. Free online arts programming, specially designed by their facilitators for the diverse residents of York South — Weston.

Find details on how you can register, and more information via their latest newsletter HERE.
Foodshare Toronto is inviting Toronto based artists and wellness practitioners of all mediums to apply for a 1-hour zoom performance to be promoted widely by Foodshare Toronto. Artists will receive an honorarium of $300* for their participation. Please send us a 1-page (max) creative proposal and examples of your previous work to natalie@foodshare.net by May 1st at 5:00pm. 
April is National Poetry Month. Please submit any personal works to our office. The best ones will be featured in future newsletters. In honour of National Poetry Month, please enjoy this poem from former Toronto's Poet Laureate Al Moritz.

A. F. Moritz

Thoughts in Time of Plague

When we set out, we knew
many would die on the way.
And yet, the journey was joyous.

When we made our home we knew
many would die there. And yet we loved
that house. All the views from its windows
we named “beauty”.

When we went down the road,
the light was different every mile.
What could be behind those mute windows
with sometimes a peering eye, what pleasure
in those almost empty gardens, what unknown work
in the factories, birds in the dense wood? 

When dawn came in our bedroom
or we woke too late in the old
shattered kitchen amid food scraps, empty bottles,
didn’t our memory burn deeper?—the same
old scar, flaming anew, shifting, unmoved.

And when we were trembling by the sick
that we loved and feared—so many—was it different?
Whether on the road with nowhere
to lay them down, or in the room with nowhere
else to take them... When we had to watch
the threatened breathing or leave it
to go to work. When we had to hear they had died

without us—was it different? No. No different.
Except that we saw something we always knew
in the dark. Failure was not
and success had never been
the end. The end was care.
 

Thank you so much for the sacrifices you and your family are making to get us past this crises. We are seeing encouraging signs, but we need to remain vigilant. Stay home if you can, and practice vigorous hand washing. 

Seniors have worked their entire lives to raise and support our community. We need to ensure we stand with them, as well as the frontline workers caring for them during this crisis.  Let's make the changes we need to keep them safe. They deserve no less.
 
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Copyright © 2020 Member of Provincial Parliament - York South-Weston, All rights reserved.


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